AXSChat Podcast

AXSChat Podcast with Mark Wilcock, Accessibility Specialist at Atos

July 12, 2021 Antonio Santos, Debra Ruh, Neil Milliken talk with Mark Wilcock
AXSChat Podcast
AXSChat Podcast with Mark Wilcock, Accessibility Specialist at Atos
Show Notes Transcript

 

Mark Wilcock is an Accessibility Specialist at Atos, CPWA Certified, an ex-contributing member of the W3C WCAG Working Group for WCAG 2.1 in the W3C Cognitive Accessibility Taskforce and an Atos Expert for Immersive Experiences.

He is the co-chair for the development of the Digital Accessibility Specialist Apprenticeship standard, the first apprenticeship standard globally solely for Accessibility.


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Neil Milliken: hello, and welcome to axschat to i'm delighted that today's guest is one of our own so it's mark world called mark works with me and Antonio.

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Neil Milliken: In the accessibility team without sauce and the topic today that we're going to talk about is apprenticeships now, this is something that's close to my heart, and I think.

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Neil Milliken: Probably close to mark's heart to since you started your journey in accessibility, as one of our first cohort of apprentices so mark over to you if you'd like to introduce yourself and tell us your experience of that.

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Mark Wilcock: thanks for the introduction, Neil yep I am really passionate about apprenticeships, I think it provides a great pathway for people to.

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Mark Wilcock: skill up into an area that they really believe in, without having to go to university or through another traditional kind of means was kind of getting that hands on experience, which I think is invaluable.

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Mark Wilcock: Especially in such a nice field, such as accessibility, I think there's not enough training out there, or on the on the formal training, which has kind of a formal accreditation.

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Mark Wilcock: That can really get people into into this field so yeah it's been a great road to this point to to get the apprenticeship scheme built and finally signed off as of a few days ago by the Secretary state of education but.

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Mark Wilcock: that's obviously just within the UK but obviously that framework can be can be used elsewhere to really kind of gather the expertise in this field.

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Neil Milliken: So so to recap, a little bit yeah we started apprenticeships, with a sort of tacking on accessibility onto a software development apprenticeship, which is how you came to work for us.

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Neil Milliken: Because there wasn't an apprenticeship for accessibility and over the last few years mark and I have worked together with other people in our in our field to sort of pull this together in the UK we work with BBC Barclays lloyd's shell.

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Neil Milliken: local council I think it's North Hampton share County Council there was.

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Neil Milliken: interest and we've consulted with museums and take the tape modern.

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Neil Milliken: Disabled Persons organizations like the RNA be and ability net both participated actively in in in this and the, the aim of it is to create a framework where we have the knowledge, skills and behavior mapped for.

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Neil Milliken: What we believe in him an accessibility specialist at digital accessibility, especially because that we had to define what it was, and should be able to do at the end of their apprenticeship and.

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Neil Milliken: So mark has done a lot of the work on that coordinating it putting up with me, working with Jody and working with the Institute for apprenticeships, which is an offshoot of the UK Department for education.

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Neil Milliken: From from from your point of view mark.

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Neil Milliken: We know i'm interested to know why you've chosen an apprenticeship, in the first place and what your journeys been as well because they've been with us, seven years.

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Mark Wilcock: yeah.

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boy.

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Neil Milliken: So what was it that made you decide you didn't want to go to university university straight away and that you would rather do an apprenticeship.

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Mark Wilcock: So yep i've been here, seven years now, and the time has flown by a car believe it's been seven years since I joined us all those all those days ago.

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Mark Wilcock: Nice rainy day in Leeds but in terms of kind of what brought me into an apprenticeship, rather than kind of the other more traditional kind of learning routes would be because I wanted to go into it.

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Mark Wilcock: I believe kind of getting the knowledge that you are actually going to be using on the job is is critical.

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Mark Wilcock: But it's also, I think a lot easier to to learn in an apprenticeship where you're getting hands on experience with technologies that you're going to be using.

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Mark Wilcock: Then, and then then now rather than learning about something that may be obsolete, what we see in the kind of the digital world these days that technology is moving so fast that what somebody was learning one year ago isn't relevant.

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Mark Wilcock: In today's.

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Mark Wilcock: landscape, so I think it's great to kind of get you the knowledge that you need for the job for the role.

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Mark Wilcock: But also i'm definitely a more kind of hands on person and like to get kind of involved and.

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Mark Wilcock: kind of involved more with less less knowledge and more practical applications of stuff.

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Debra Ruh: mark.

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Debra Ruh: One thing that we've sort of moved away from apprenticeships in the United States, except for certain certain.

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Debra Ruh: Job types i'm saying that wrong, but you know I know that we still do like plumber apprenticeships and we do a lot of construction apprenticeships, but.

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Debra Ruh: And I know that our government, I believe, Neil has talked to our government our.

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Debra Ruh: In our department of Labor we have the office of disability employment policy nicknamed owed up.

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Debra Ruh: And I know that they've gotten involved through pete P at to do apprenticeships, but.

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Debra Ruh: I just I never understood in a way, why we as a society moved away from apprenticeships, because, as you.

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Debra Ruh: You know, as you point out, not everybody wants to go to college, you know, sometimes there are different paths, but accessibility is so complicated and so nuanced.

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Debra Ruh: And so what I love the idea i'm really interested in what y'all done and I love the idea that you're making it apprenticeship, because we do have courses, you know, on becoming.

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Debra Ruh: A you know becoming an accessibility expert but it's really there's so many moving parts and I was, I was talking to somebody the other day, and they.

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Debra Ruh: were getting in they were interested in accessibility and they said, well, but what do you have to do, and why is it so complicated and I said well it's not complicated, if you have to do one thing at a time.

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Debra Ruh: You can do it any graphics that you put out have to be presented in a textual way don't use color blah blah blah.

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Debra Ruh: it's the sheer volume of what you have to do when you're an organization like a toast the sheer amount of it that is so overwhelming and I.

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Debra Ruh: I I think this was an investor I was talking to that wanted to invest and wanted to understand why we can't just use overlays and I was like you know.

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Debra Ruh: You can't sidestep you know what has to be done to truly you know be accessible, but i'm just hoping that we start.

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Debra Ruh: Bringing more apprenticeships back because we have interns and those things, but they very rarely really lead to real employment.

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Debra Ruh: Whereas apprenticeships, historically, have led to employment, I mean you've been at a toast for seven years that's amazing and I, so I I just think it's a really powerful program but, and I know you probably.

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Debra Ruh: I don't know if you know this answer I don't know why, why is society we even move away from apprenticeships, because.

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Debra Ruh: I, like you learn best when I get to do it because I can try to absorb it by listening by seeing, but if you really want me to learn it, let me do it it's almost like when i'm driving if i'm driving.

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Debra Ruh: You know I can find my way back, but if somebody else is driving.

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Debra Ruh: i'm I tend to not pay attention to look at the pretty flowers, so, in some ways I equate it to like that, but I really do think apprenticeships are so powerful and I don't know if, in the UK you're also shifted away from them, but.

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Debra Ruh: I was just curious what you think about this, because once again society shifted away but it sure seems like we need to move back so I was just curious from your journey, if you agree, and you know what would you recommend, on that topic I know that's a big question.

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Mark Wilcock: So that.

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Mark Wilcock: That definitely used to be in the UK anyway kind of a negative connotation around going on an apprenticeship over going to university and a lot of organizations kind of more in the past have placed a really heavy.

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Mark Wilcock: Reliance on having a degree to get a job to get through the door, which is why a lot of people, I think I think shifted away from apprenticeships, because if.

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Mark Wilcock: Every job needs a degree to get through the door, then, then the only way, you can get to that job is really going through a degree, but I think that's been in the UK at least a massive.

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Mark Wilcock: shift from getting away from you know just requiring a degree lots of companies are now saying, if you don't have a degree if you've got kind of relevant experience.

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Mark Wilcock: A longer relevant experience in that field, then that's that's adequate or or equal and I think in the UK at least I can't speak for the United States.

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Mark Wilcock: But they they've kind of structured apprenticeships, to have somewhat equivalent value to degrees now so there's a variety of levels, you can achieve in in apprenticeships so there's level I think 128 I think it is, I want to seven i'm not sure how high they go.

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Mark Wilcock: But that's basically from the start of a lower education to to post graduate like master degrees equivalents, and so they map across so they have value, which I think is really critical so there's there's an equivalent to so for myself, I started on a level four apprenticeship.

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Mark Wilcock: With ultimate software development because we didn't have an accessibility apprenticeship like Neil mentioned before we kind of take the on the on the job training.

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Mark Wilcock: And then i've kind of progressed from that and done a level, five and six.

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Mark Wilcock: Which is basically the equivalent of a degree so i've completed a degree and got that same certificate that somebody would have if they.

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Mark Wilcock: If i'd gone to university still following that path of being an apprentice and and obviously with the generous support of that i've done that, without many of the financial burdens that places on you.

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Mark Wilcock: Which as i'm currently find thankful for, but I think the the apprenticeship.

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Mark Wilcock: it's about the value and delivering that that on the job training, which is, I think, in a lot of professions is so valuable, obviously.

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Mark Wilcock: Every profession, you can do it for apprenticeship, there are certain professions, I think you know that there needs to be kind of that.

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Mark Wilcock: Really in depth degree qualification, but there's so many professions out there, that that.

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Mark Wilcock: That could be you know greatly bolstered by providing apprenticeships and and it's a great route to get more people into the field, especially in accessibility, where in the UK we have a lack of a lack of talent pipeline.

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Debra Ruh: Well, I am fascinated with this, because in the first place, you can get a degree most degrees you get.

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Debra Ruh: You get out of college and you don't know how to do the job, and you know that's true you can get an English degree, you can get a history degree, you can get a fine art I you know I know.

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Debra Ruh: Right well it's just funny because a lot of times you get a degree, but then you don't know how to do the job, so it just makes so much more sense what you're doing.

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Debra Ruh: And I love that you actually now have the degree, because you did the work you didn't go i'm not saying going in classes at work, but It just seems that we're doing it so back ass work, so I love what you're doing.

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Neil Milliken: I have to say that.

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Neil Milliken: The mix so so.

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Neil Milliken: it's not all hands on learning, so there is classroom learning so we when we when we make the apprenticeships and a lot of the work that marks done and i've done with the.

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Neil Milliken: Help, of the other people in the trailblazer group and the Institute for apprenticeships is actually.

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Neil Milliken: Working out, what are the things that are going to be cost based learning what do we expect people to learn, working with.

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Neil Milliken: Education provider Center is sort of classroom based learning so you know you've got taught to code you got taught to test.

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Neil Milliken: You know, you know, there will be classroom based learning about screen readers and accessibility standards and all of this kind of stuff as well as the the practical side and then what might have forgot to also tell you that the degree, he got was the first class degree so.

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Neil Milliken: You know it's.

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Debra Ruh: What does that mean I in the States I don't know what first class degree means.

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Neil Milliken: That the top monk.

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Debra Ruh: So here we call it, we have bachelors of arts, we have.

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Debra Ruh: science.

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Neil Milliken: yeah I.

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Neil Milliken: made it my head, but it, but it would be like with it, you know it will be sort of the.

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Neil Milliken: So normally they're graded you know bachelor so you get a BSC or a BA with honors and then you get a grading of first two one to two or third or pass.

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Neil Milliken: yeah.

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Neil Milliken: So so.

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Neil Milliken: So what happens here is, you have a release so you're working on the job, and then you get time off to go into your course work, I mean it does no.

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Neil Milliken: It doesn't and i've benefited from this as well, so I mean I I was passionate about the idea of apprenticeships, because I benefited from doing my masters day release with my previous employer.

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Neil Milliken: and got business relevant skills, so I did an MBA in technology operations management which stood me in good stead for understanding the complexities of large organizations and technology, which helped me in the role that i'm doing now so.

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Neil Milliken: Hats off to mark, because actually to get a really good mark like that, when you're working as well is tough, so it takes commitment.

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Neil Milliken: But the point being the things that we raised our that yes, we want that mixture of on the job and off the job learning and you, you referenced.

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Neil Milliken: I double ap we aligned with I double ap so that anyone That completes the apprenticeship will qualify for membership, you know they'd be accepted as a Member and correct me if i'm wrong mark, they would also should be able to sail through the wires in the seat back.

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Mark Wilcock: yeah, so I think we aligned to the bodies of knowledge that they publish along those lines, so why should I should gain the qualifications, through the scheme, they should be able to.

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Mark Wilcock: Sit those exams and pass them comfortably with the knowledge that we we learn and in terms of kind of how we laid out.

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Mark Wilcock: The I the not the the Institute for apprenticeships requires you basically break down.

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Mark Wilcock: An apprenticeship apprentices knowledge, skills and behaviors so what you expect them to be able to basically achieve.

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Mark Wilcock: At the end, and what we did is we took a kind of a broad approach across the organizations that we we engaged in the trailblazer group to ensure that we weren't just providing a scheme that was specific to us, but it could be used by any organization that wanted Calvin an accessibility.

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Mark Wilcock: expert, if you want to call now or a specialist.

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Mark Wilcock: And they should be able to kind of do a variety of roles so it's not just testing it's not just kind of project management it's it's a huge amalgamation of them all.

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Mark Wilcock: But, obviously we couldn't cover everything, because it would be so so high level, but that if there's a broad enough perspective that that somebody should be able to kind of comfortably.

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Mark Wilcock: Employee and apprentice through that.

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Antonio Santos: On that point, mark, can you do a little bit of a kind of a breakdown from that scheme know what what are what is included in the program and what at the end of it, what expectations people might have in listen to their careers.

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Antonio Santos: Okay.

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Mark Wilcock: So, in terms of kind of the whole quick quick kind of around where we started, where we what we've kind of done so.

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Mark Wilcock: Initially it was about forming the trailblazer group so that was gathering those that group of organizations that was passionate about providing apprenticeships.

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Mark Wilcock: And also organizations that would actually be willing to take on apprentices for this scheme, when they were actually got published.

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Mark Wilcock: And then the next step on that was defining the duties so that's what I kind of just mentioned before, would be where we outlined.

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Mark Wilcock: The roles and responsibilities, the kind of tasks that you'd expect an apprentice, to be able to complete or you'd want an apprentice, to be able to complete once they've completed the learning obviously not join the scheme so so what the kind of the main ones we targeted were.

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Mark Wilcock: Testing because obviously that's quite a large part of what a lot of organizations do so accessibility testing and we aligned to some of the European and UK legislations, because obviously where we're creating it it's a UK and I specific scheme.

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Mark Wilcock: The hub, the project management so working out how accessibility kind of fitted into the bigger picture, where it might be position, what kind of tasks, you might have to do during your project.

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Mark Wilcock: We had bit about support.

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Mark Wilcock: and support on the list so supporting people with different assistive technologies.

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Mark Wilcock: How how a service desk can be operated with people with disabilities in mind and all of that all of those things.

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Mark Wilcock: And then we had the document documents specific parts so mediating documents, creating accessible presentations.

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Mark Wilcock: All of those parts of that kind of aligns to kind of columns and marketing departments.

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Mark Wilcock: And then obviously we we wrap that work kind of the the general knowledge around accessibility, so the general knowledge about different types of disabilities, how they impact people how you can others can support them and all of that that kind of stuff.

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Antonio Santos: So if if if today, if you have to tell someone Okay, no there's something here that you can apply there's a career opportunity for you.

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Antonio Santos: What would be let's say Oh, would you sell this apprenticeship to someone else.

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Mark Wilcock: In terms of kind of where where it would be marketing at first so before anybody could really apply it would need organizations such as I asked to.

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Mark Wilcock: to utilize the standard, so what would happen is they'll open like a job opening using this standard and within the UK and I there's what they what the Institute called funding fundings so it's not something that the company has to fully.

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Mark Wilcock: fund so they are supported in in employing these individuals with a portion of the training i'm not sure the exact portion or or the sides but.

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Mark Wilcock: That there's a percentage that, basically, the UK Government provide so it basically enables organizations of all sizes to take these individuals on and basically just pay.

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Mark Wilcock: A portion or their salary, rather than the cost extensive to the training so so once those openings are owned by the company anybody anybody could apply for those.

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Mark Wilcock: School lever or anybody can have been later in their career and one rescaling.

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Mark Wilcock: will not see thing that i've learned through this process is that apprentice apprenticeships are actually utilized by the older demographic more than the younger.

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Mark Wilcock: which was actually a shocking statistic I didn't realize people use the friendship so widely for upscaling rather than kind of.

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Mark Wilcock: Once they've left school as as kind of a next step in their career.

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Neil Milliken: So yeah particularly so when i've been doing the work with the Institute of coding, they were looking at the level six and above so the.

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Neil Milliken: The degree and master's level apprenticeships and what people were doing with lots of companies were using it for reese killing.

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Neil Milliken: People that you know mid career and so we're wanting to do for other stuff so to explain a little bit further for those outside of the UK there is this text, a lot of companies pay for the apprenticeship that we and so every large company has to pay into this, but.

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Neil Milliken: If you're sensible and you'll want to get your money back out by getting good well train people.

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Neil Milliken: back because the the scheme subsidizes the vast majority of the training you essentially pay the you know there's a way to structure, so you have to pay minimum wage, plus you know.

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Neil Milliken: which we do and and, in return for that there's also a framework where people get promoted over time.

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Neil Milliken: As you go through your apprenticeship you hit certain milestones you get bit more money.

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Neil Milliken: Higher grading etc.

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Neil Milliken: And at the end of it obviously you get a certification, which is equivalent to an academic qualification and the funding for the accessibility specialist apprenticeship.

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Neil Milliken: This has been granted by the government pays for 16,000 pounds worth of the training, so all of the sort of academic training is pretty much funded and the employer and he pays about 1500 pounds.

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Neil Milliken: So so 90% funded because of the apprenticeship, and everything and, of course, you have to pay their employment costs but, at the end of the two years you end up with someone.

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Neil Milliken: That isn't as good or better than me on the technical aspects, probably better than me on the technical aspects, because my my skills have rusty over the years, because all i'm doing is sitting on conference calls but.

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Neil Milliken: So marks testament to the fact and his colleagues, Carl and jack and.

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Neil Milliken: And, and the next generations were our third cohort now we'll we'll continue.

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Neil Milliken: So i'm going to get absolutely slapped by Luke and Oliver and Carol and everyone else, when I forget loads of people's names, but.

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Neil Milliken: What we end up here is with people that have a really well rounded accessibility knowledge, rather than people like me, people like our generation who come into accessibility and and picked it up as we've gone along so people have the.

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Neil Milliken: we've sat down amongst ourselves and worked out pretty much what's everything we need you would like people to know and built that into a course and structured it.

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Neil Milliken: and had to have it in a way that was explainable to non experts worked with the education providers, because this is the other bit with we then have to find people that would provide to the formal education.

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Neil Milliken: To be able to describe to them what they need to deliver they come and provide a quotation and for delivering the the formal education part that goes to the government for approval.

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Neil Milliken: And so, this is why we're celebrating today because we've taken the best part of.

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Neil Milliken: Three years to go from the point of starting the process of saying yeah right we start this trouble as a group to getting the approval and everything from the government, but now it's a recognized profession in the UK, because this is.

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Neil Milliken: You know, essentially the government now recognizes accessibility is an occupation at one where there is formal training attached so so there was a duality of purpose to this, the first is that.

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Neil Milliken: You know, we need to train more people with good skills, and this is a way of a framework of doing it, and the second is is to get recognition that this is a real occupation.

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Antonio Santos: I need some some context in in order to help clarify some of the points in English, to the training and the need in market in the market and how useful it is know we have plenty of trainings and.

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Antonio Santos: All over Europe similar to this, but sometimes they are not that aligners so you go to a training you receive a certification, at the end.

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Antonio Santos: But then, you are left in limbo looking for a job don't identify who actually needs you so how is this one here working and now is the program in UK works in order to make sure that there are some.

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Antonio Santos: alignment between know the expectations of the people will apply for these programs and the industry itself.

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Mark Wilcock: So, in the UK.

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Mark Wilcock: Specifically, within our current comparable companies, but when you're employed as an apprentice.

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Mark Wilcock: There is kind of an agreement that would that will be an ongoing role so like you mentioned that that that once the trainings over there is a job at the end of it, there is a vacancy that they should be fulfilled.

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Mark Wilcock: And that will basically provide that apprentice the reassurance that the skills they're actually learning will be fruitful for a job that there is progression past that point.

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Mark Wilcock: But in terms of kind of the other part, like ninja and Neil Neil mentioned and alluded to before that that it's linked to the wider qualification kind of framework, so the.

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Mark Wilcock: Accessibility apprenticeship is low level for apprenticeship so that's the equivalent of basically the first year of university degree so.

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Mark Wilcock: Whereas a company might certificate you in accessibility.

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Mark Wilcock: It doesn't actually have like the backing of of of the wider.

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Mark Wilcock: Learning framework, which are the apprenticeship those provides So even if you were to take this apprenticeship, and you decided actually.

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Mark Wilcock: i've had a great experience i've learned lots but that.

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Mark Wilcock: it's not for me, you still have that qualification that provides kind of a credit qualification credits, if you want to put it that way towards getting a different job in a different kind of profession, so it provides kind of more.

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Mark Wilcock: More backup rather than just kind of going to it to a company.

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Mark Wilcock: That of apprenticeships.

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Debra Ruh: I just think this is a brilliant brilliant brilliant idea I personally think we need to do this in every single country, but just selfishly I really want us to do it in the US, I know that.

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Debra Ruh: We have really struggled growing the accessibility community and the reality is with all the lawsuits that are happening in the states, we need seasoned accessibility professionals so bad, we need them so bad, so I would.

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Debra Ruh: I wish that we could take this and we could apply it to other countries, and I know that's a big ask, but it is really brilliant, and this is the way people learn, so I wish.

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Debra Ruh: We don't have a you know, an apprenticeship scheme like that, but that is so smart, but maybe we should, and maybe other countries quick, but this could solve so many problems that we have with the rescaling with.

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Debra Ruh: You know the school's not the College is not really knowing how yet or I died that's probably not the right words but to to to create accessibility professionals, like you, mark and your peers.

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Antonio Santos: So this was.

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Antonio Santos: Really brilliant.

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Antonio Santos: can ask the question, there were no no.

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Antonio Santos: we're we're trying to address.

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Antonio Santos: An issue and try to fill in the gap that exists, from your experience as professional working in this area when you talk with organizations about sustainability.

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Antonio Santos: What feeling do you have English and to who they believe accessibility should be allocated to a designer.

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Antonio Santos: To a developer, where are they you know it feels good, I feel I have the feeling that, sometimes, nobody knows and that time just try to identify who has some knowledge in order to jump into the wagon because I think that's precisely what do I try to sort out here with this program.

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Debra Ruh: Right, and I think that's a really great question and the reality is they don't know.

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Debra Ruh: And I would say, maybe 1% know, but most of them don't know they don't know they don't understand which.

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Debra Ruh: is one reason why I think we're so confused in the states with Oh, you can put this overlay on top and it's only $50 a month and you're done and they want that, but I think in.

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Debra Ruh: And i'm glad i'm sorry but i'm glad we're doing it at the same time, but all the litigation that we're doing is causing such terrible confusion.

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Debra Ruh: And then, what the corporation's did which you can't blame them was they took the brightest talent, a lot of our bright talent out of the marketplace.

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Debra Ruh: Because if you're going to put this much pressure on me compliance and litigation wise and you're attacking my brand on top of it will find i'm going to grab the genesis of the world, the real top talents i'm will take them.

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Debra Ruh: The marketplace, but then it just we didn't have enough built up like this, which are doing and so.

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Debra Ruh: What so what's happening in the states is they're going to do whatever they have to do to try to make sure if they get sued.

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Debra Ruh: That it looks like they have a plan in place because it's just mass confusion either is mass confusion in the United States with accessibility, there is ridiculous and lawsuits are jumping and jumping and jumping and.

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Debra Ruh: In the even the court systems in the legal systems don't understand this, so I understand that we used that what is the carrot and the stick and we have a gigantic stick that will be everybody with but.

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Debra Ruh: The thing that's so frustrating to the corporations and others is that it's like, but what is your plan accessibility Community disability community to create talent, like the marks of the world, so.

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Debra Ruh: The end, you know, and I know i'm Speaking in general terms, but I talk, you know to corporations all day long all over and so.

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Debra Ruh: You know that's why he was always impresses me because it's like, why are y'all being so clever how are you I understand you're fulfilling a need, but why.

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Debra Ruh: In so now i'm being selfish and i'm going back to society, but a toast please will you please come and teach ever we all need to go to the valuable 500 and teach all the corporations and the valuable 500 to do this.

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Debra Ruh: Because i'm sorry that we are asking corporations to solve our greatest social issues, but I think we are right, I mean mark is a byproduct of that.

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Neil Milliken: So So yes, we're fulfilling a selfish need but we're also fulfilling a need for society, absolutely and it was that duality of intent right so.

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Neil Milliken: We, yes, we definitely we need more and actually we need a wider pool than just within our own organization so so we want.

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Neil Milliken: lots of other organizations, including people that compete with us to to put people through the the apprenticeship because everybody needs to be doing this right and and then we create.

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Neil Milliken: a vibrant Labor pool of skilled individuals that we need, because we have this tsunami accessibility work a tsunami of content, you know.

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Debra Ruh: i'm interrupting you, but I want to interrupt you on purpose, also the really cool thing about what you're doing.

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Debra Ruh: Is that mark is not qualified, just to be an accessibility expert mark would add value sorry mark i'm just yeah i'm promoting you know but mark would add value in any.

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Debra Ruh: Any other part of your organization because of these technical skills, he has so I know you know that, but I want others to understand, too, because having these foundations is making I mean people are going to probably try to still mark from you now, but.

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Neil Milliken: What you can't see is the enormous shackle underneath.

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Debra Ruh: blurred that's why his screen is blurred because he can't get out.

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Neil Milliken: But, but in all seriousness, well, I mean, mark you might well want to talk about the role that you're now in because essentially what i've asked mark to do and he's taken on a new role is to.

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Neil Milliken: spread this learning across the whole of our organization so he's responsible now for accessibility knowledge management.

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Mark Wilcock: yeah so firstly to kind of jump back to your question, a while ago Deborah.

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Mark Wilcock: About kind of implementing it in the United States, the great thing about the work we've actually done over here is that there's all kind of like open source, if you want to say it like that, and it's actually all freely available on.

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Mark Wilcock: The Institute for mentorship and I think technical education website I think they rebranded recently So if you actually just Google digital.

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Neil Milliken: Especially.

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Mark Wilcock: Like digital accessibility specialist the.

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Neil Milliken: pressures.

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Neil Milliken: To it should yeah.

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Mark Wilcock: It should pop up and you can click that and it shows all the knowledge, skills and behaviors how they're all kind of all mapped to the different duties, and I think you can download a nice word document with all compiled in for you haven't haven't even copy and paste it.

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Mark Wilcock: So, so it is all open source and it can be used by anyone and when we do say you know jump in it and use it, if you want, in your local countries.

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Mark Wilcock: But, but obviously what we're going to use that, for as well, is where like Neil mentioned in the new role that i'll be taking on we're going to be using those kind of.

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Mark Wilcock: foundations that we've created for the apprenticeship and actually utilize them for learning internally within our thoughts, because once you've got those foundations, you can build.

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Mark Wilcock: upon those and then build it into specific job roles as well, because the apprenticeship so broad you can actually just.

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Mark Wilcock: Choose specific sections, if you want and target those two specific applications that people you know over developer, you need to make a developer more aware of accessibility.

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Mark Wilcock: That those parts are already included in the apprenticeship for that for that apprentice to learn, so you can utilize those specific parts in an alternative training practice if you want.

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Debra Ruh: it's very impressive very, very impressive.

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Neil Milliken: Oh no, this is why, when people say what's the proudest thing you've done is this actually you know, because this is, this has been a you know this and access, of course.

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Neil Milliken: But, but actually you know whether I think this will have an impact, I think it will because I mean it's it's just take your time.

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Neil Milliken: yeah.

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Debra Ruh: gosh The results speak for themselves.

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Neil Milliken: So, so you know we didn't you know we've been holding off and holding up and it's taken ages to get to the point where it's fine he we went on the website and it says.

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Neil Milliken: it's ready for delivery approved for delivery on the website now so so So yes, you can go to the website, you can download the entire apprenticeship standard the knowledge, skills behaviors all of the mappings you can also get the.

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Neil Milliken: The grading descriptors and all of this stuff as well, so you can see, the assessment plan so what what you'd be expected to be able to you know how you would get graded and all of this kind of stuff so.

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Neil Milliken: yeah it's all there you know, we need to you know, have a big shout out to the people that really also really put in a lot of time, you know.

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Neil Milliken: Jody greer, who is now with be people's Martha was excel at the time.

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Neil Milliken: germann who has moved from ability now to the Home Office.

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Neil Milliken: or a gamble from hex productions as well you know the as well, as you know, the contributions from our an IB and ability and BBC and my clinic I think NASA was in there to will be thanking him at the end anyway.

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Neil Milliken: But but yeah so so many hands make light work but it's been it's been a long time coming, but I think that this is this is something that will have utility for lots of people.

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Debra Ruh: I agree, I have a question, if I may, if I was a major corporation watching this and I think it's great that you're giving me the links that I can download it, but if I wanted to come to a toes.

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Debra Ruh: Because he uses a provider if I wanted to come to a toast and I wanted a toast to teach me this gigantic technology company to do what you've done, you know is that there's something a toast would help another because I know that you're a system integrator which i'll help.

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Neil Milliken: So, yes, but not necessarily through the apprenticeship, you know we would we have a you know, a maturity assessment approach, so we would do maturity consulting we would work with.

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Debra Ruh: With the organization, if I wanted you to.

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Debra Ruh: help me put apprentice in so that I have because right now there's not enough people in the marketplace.

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Neil Milliken: yeah so, and this is actually.

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Neil Milliken: Why you're doing yeah, no, no, but we are being so you know partners of ours interested in in both so the the apprentices will stay with the employer, so this is the thing the the way that it's been designed, is that there is enough off the job learning.

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Neil Milliken: And enough structures for the course for companies where they can be either really tiny or really large doesn't matter.

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Neil Milliken: Essentially you know, there will be enough sort of support there for someone to learn stuff on the job and then learn off the job, and I think there's also some of the stuff that will.

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Neil Milliken: As a community need to do is there's been talking about helping people have rotational placements so so that there is the option for people to experience stuff in other organizations as part of the apprenticeship, but the aim is.

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Neil Milliken: That when I take on an apprentice.

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Neil Milliken: you're going to apply employ them right, and this is a an investment is an investment.

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Neil Milliken: In in the individual because you're making a commitment to that person, for you know, several years because you know it's a couple of years, where you know you're taking someone that has taken several from no skills to the end result so there's a period where you're paying someone.

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Neil Milliken: And they're not going to bring money in for you and the same so so you have that investment, but at the same time, at the end of it you've got people that.

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Neil Milliken: Are you know more junior therefore not your 55 year old $3,000 a day accessibility Swami or guru that that.

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Neil Milliken: That means that you've got high school cost effective, you know employees that could potentially be with you, for decades, hopefully, you don't break out the shackles.

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Neil Milliken: That.

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Neil Milliken: That you can then develop you know and and have a career and you know, most people in accessibility, until this point it's a second career.

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Debra Ruh: Right or third or fourth right.

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Debra Ruh: yeah and as mark very eloquently said she feels very thankful and loyal to a toast for investing in him, so you know employees stay with us.

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Debra Ruh: Or have them bailiff.

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Neil Milliken: So no I mean it is something that we're proud of and we're proud of all of the of all of the apprentice is that have been through our doors and even the ones that have left they're still working bar one still working in accessibility.

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Neil Milliken: So, out of all of the people that have been through the through the doors I think anyone's not doing some kind of accessibility related work.

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Debra Ruh: Right, but they still understand it.

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Debra Ruh: So i'm sure everything they do there, so it is such a it's there's so many benefits to this there's so many benefits to our Community, the community of people with disabilities.

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Debra Ruh: But to the corporations to the technologists to the designers I I think y'all should be extremely proud, this is.

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Antonio Santos: Why so it's a it's a modern Program.

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Antonio Santos: For organizations know that are no.

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Antonio Santos: interested in digitally transforming part of their services there's also that element is is the fact that it brings it brings that element of being an updated.

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Antonio Santos: module of training and education that is fit for the purpose of modern organizations.

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Mark Wilcock: Yes, and on that point, Antonio as part of the actual process by the Institute every few years i'm not sure the exact time frame the actual apprenticeships actually reviewed and they take on board kind of shifts in technology so.

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Mark Wilcock: It because it's just been released now is up to date, but hopefully because of how all of the content reviewed and how.

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Mark Wilcock: it's updated with another kind of trailblazer group in the future.

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Mark Wilcock: should still be relevant in years to come, so it can it can keep being utilized it's not going to kind of go out of date.

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Mark Wilcock: And then not become useful it should always kind of be up to date and useful and and how it's actually structured provides that flexibility, the apprentice doesn't, for example, need to be a master in a specific programming language or or certain application.

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Mark Wilcock: it's laid out in a way that it's flexible that they could still pass and get you know, a high high qualification high high pass mark being in a totally different.

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Mark Wilcock: scenario than than a different apprentice in a different organization now, which is it, which is greg's it provides that kind of flexibility.

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Debra Ruh: Right.

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Debra Ruh: Bravo.

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Neil Milliken: We more than done a half hour got carried away today so need to think buffets access Michael and my clear text for keeping us on air.

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Neil Milliken: keeping us caption keeping us happy so look forward to you joining us on on Twitter on Tuesday mark I think we'll you know the Community so we'll have fun.

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Debra Ruh: Yes, and congratulations to everybody and mark does special Greg congratulations to you.

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Mark Wilcock: Thank you, thank you for having me on it's been a great honor i'll see you on Tuesday.

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Debra Ruh: Yes, yes, and congratulations Neil and Antonio and a toast because this is how we move forward so i'm very impressed.